Tuesday 14th January 2014
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has published legislation for the merger of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency.
The proposal to merge the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) is consistent with Government plans for Public Sector reform and, in particular, its programme for rationalisation of State Agencies. The amalgamation is being implemented through the dissolution of the RPA and the transferring of its functions and staff to the NRA.
“The merger will add one more to the 43 State agencies already merged or amalgamated at the last count. It is expected that there will be over a hundred fewer State agencies and public bodies before the term of this Government ends. In Opposition, I authored the first policy paper, Streamlining Government, calling for a reduction in the number of State agencies which mushroomed during the years of profligate Fianna Fáil, Green, PD and Independent governments. Even though it has been a lot harder and has taken a lot longer than I predicted, we are getting there,” Minister Varadkar said.
The newly merged agency will remain a non-commercial State body and will be given the operational title “Transport Infrastructure Service (TIS)” to better reflect its expanded functions. The new organisation will benefit from combining the technical expertise and experience available in the NRA and RPA.
“The merger of the NRA and RPA will create a new streamlined organisation which will be a leader in the planning, delivery and management of transport infrastructure in Ireland, demonstrating the best and most efficient use of scarce public resources,” Minister Varadkar said.
“The need for restructuring the institutional framework in the transport sector is recognised, particularly in light of the reduced capital investment programme. However, through this merger, core technical and professional skills will be retained in the public sector to support the future development of transport infrastructure.”
The Roads Amendment Bill 2014 can be accessed at: http://www.dttas.ie/roads/publications/english/roads-bill-2014-no-1-2014
The Explanatory Memorandum for the Roads Bill 2014 can be accessed at: http://www.dttas.ie/roads/publications/english/roads-bill-2014-explanatory-memorandum
Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport: 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1087
Note to Editors
State Agency Rationalisation
Minister Varadkar has already:
- Incorporated Dublin Tourism into Failte Ireland;
- Coaching Ireland into the Irish Sport Council;
- Amalgamated Dundalk Port with Dublin Port;
- Transferred Baltimore & Skibbereen Harbour, and Kinsale Harbour to Cork County Council;
- Transferred Tralee/Fenit Harbour to Kerry County Council;
- Transferred Arklow Harbour to Wicklow County Council;
- Transferred Bantry to the Port of Cork.
Further proposed rationalisation
- Minister Ring will publish legislation in the coming weeks to merge the Irish Sports Council and National Sport Campus Development Authority.
- Minister Varadkar will complete the merger of Shannon Airport and Shannon Development this year.
- Minister Varadkar will publish legislation later this year to provide for the transfer of a four regional ports to local authorities.
The Department of Public Expenditure & Reform publishes a quarterly update on the rationalisation of State agencies, though the last available update is Q2 2013. This document is available at: http://bit.ly/1eKjO05
According to this document:
- 43 bodies have been rationalised/amalgamated
- 63 bodies are in the process of being rationalised—ie. ‘legislative or administrative changes underway’
- A further 110 bodies have been ‘identified’
- A further updated report is being prepared by the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform.
Editors Notes regarding the merger of the NRA & RPA
The legislative framework chosen to implement the merger is a Roads Bill, amending the Roads Act 1993, which is the legislation that originally established the NRA. The RPA will be dissolved and the functions, staff, assets and liabilities etc will be transferred to the NRA.
The new organisation will benefit from combining the technical expertise and experience available in the NRA and RPA. The specialist areas concerned include: Project management, negotiation and management of PPP contracts, transport planning, engineering design and advice, planning and environment policies and procedures, property acquisition and management. The greater range of in-house expertise and skills available to the new organisation is expected to lead to a reduction in reliance on external consultants. There will be an opportunity to achieve savings in the support and administrative functions of the combined organisation in the longer term.
The increase in scale due to the merger of both organisations is also expected to generate benefits through more efficient capital expenditure and an ability to leverage greater efficiencies in procurement. The new organisation will be the key player in the Irish Public Private Partnership market and its capacity to negotiate and secure finance for PPP projects on the best possible terms will be strengthened.